1. Choosing to live in a frozen tundra. No one really understands why people live in places where the temperature plummets well below freezing for months at a time but for some reason the Scandi blood clouds our judgement and we find ourselves congregating in these rough climates.
2. Eating food that comes in only two colors: white and grey. Everything we eat that is traditional scandi food is colorless: lefse, fish, potatoes, Swedish meatballs, lutefisk, pickled herring — we really, really just love our bland, white food.
3. Being tall. If you’re part of a Scandinavian family it’s pretty safe to say all your male relatives are above 6′. It can be a shock to travel away from the northern states to the east coast and remember that the average heights in America are well below what you’re used to.
4. Eating mayonnaise salad. I have no idea how this came to be or why it can be described as a “salad” but for some reason all my Scandi relatives love making various “salads” for family dinners — none of which contain any kinds of greens but all of which contain mayonnaise and some kind of noodle or chips or candy. Don’t ask questions, just scoop and pass.
5. Inserting ‘R’s into words that have absolutely no business having an ‘R’ in them. How could it possibly be pronounced ‘Warshington’?!?!?
6. Refusing help like it’s the actual plague. Scandis are terminally polite. To the extreme that when someone asks you for actual help you need you still refuse! If someone wants to do something as simple as invite you over for dinner, they have to offer multiple times because the first time you’re going to respond “no, that’s okay” in order to be “polite”.
7. Sven and Ole jokes. If Scandinavian-Americans are experts at anything, it’s making jokes at their own expense.
8. Hot dish. There’s really no reason hot dish should exist, and yet here we are. But then you see a steaming bowl of tater tot hot dish and somehow something that can accurately be described as “leftovers mushed together” seems appetizing.
9. Fish pictures. If you are a woman in a geographic area with a lot of Scandi men, you’re going to be stuck in a Groundhog’s Day type Tinder scenario where you see the same two photos over and over again: the fish photo and the deer photo.
10. Crying about the Miracle on Ice. This is the only time you will see your male relatives cry.
11. Turning day drinking into a socially acceptable life choice. There are alcoholics, and then there are lake people. No one bats an eye if you get day drunk when you’re on the water, it’s practically a requirement. That’s why all the lake people hang out together.